For since the world, with its wisdom, could not know God in the wisdom of God, it pleased the Lord to save the believers by the “foolishness” of preaching.1 Cor. 1:21
All the wisdom of the world hasn’t brought the world (at large) to know God; to know what or who He is. After millennia, the best it has come up with is that there may or may not be a God, or Higher Power, or Universal Love, or Directing Force…. In other words, the world at large still has no idea whether God exists or not, and if He does, what form He takes or what we are required to do as a result.
Last year I watched an episode of Can of Worms, an Australian show that brings up possibly divisive topics and asks a panel of three well-known media personalities of differing ages and backgrounds to give their opinions on particular questions about those topics. The topic for this episode was whether it’s okay to tell your kids there’s no God. As usual, it was discussed and debated amongst them, and people in the audience as well as the guest panel gave their opinions. In the end, all they could offer were comments like, “I’d tell them that I don’t believe God exists, but they can if they want.” Or that what really matters is being a good person, or that God is in nature, so we should worship Nature – because we can see it, therefore it’s really here. Wow. This is the “wisdom of the world” – so much less than the reality, and so unsatisfying.
So, God doesn’t convince men and women of the truth through worldly wisdom, but through what to worldly understanding is foolishness – the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A simple yet profound plan for happiness. Worldly wisdom says that what’s real is only what the five physical senses can comprehend; that anything else is imagination, delusion or just wishful thinking, because it can’t be systematically proven – i.e. by worldly, conventional, earthly or secular wisdom. This ‘wisdom’ can’t prove it because it lacks the capacity, not because it’s superior.
The truths of eternity are given to our minds and spirits in a process that appears to the world as foolishness – a reliance on insubstantial nonsense; a weakness that causes people to lean on something other than themselves or what can be proven by those five senses. And yet, that knowledge, known in hearts, minds and spirits, is more certain than any other kind.
The truths of religion will never be proven by earthly wisdom because it cannot approach it; it is outside its scope. This wisdom will always fall short, just as it did in Paul’s time, with the wisdom of the Greeks and the sign-seeking of the Jews.